How to Treat Jaundice – Natural Remedies to Consider

how to treat jaundice

Jaundice is a symptom, which is characterized by the yellowing (sometimes even orange tinting) of the skin, mucous membrane, and the sclera. It is a result of excessive production of bilirubin in the body.

Bilirubin is a yellow pigment, which is a by-product obtained from the break down of the hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Under normal circumstances, the blood carries bilirubin into the liver, which then gets rid of it. Jaundice could indicate a grave issue with the functioning of your RBCs, gallbladder, liver, or pancreas.

Nearly 60% of newborns(1) are affected by jaundice. Neonatal children develop jaundice because of the inability of the immature liver to synthesize fetal hemoglobin. If untreated, severe jaundice could result in the development of Kernicterus. However, jaundice is not as common in adults.

Here are a few remedies that can guide you with how to treat jaundice.

Causes of Jaundice

Jaundice is more of a symptom than a disease. As such, it could be caused by the following underlying issues:

  • Alcohol misuse.
  • Liver problems (like Hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E).
  • Blood conditions like Thalassemia or anemia.
  • Pancreatic or Liver cancer.
  • Gallstones.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • Bile duct obstruction.
  • Yellow fever.
  • Hereditary conditions.

As mentioned earlier, jaundice is also fairly common amongst newborns who are born prematurely.

Signs and Symptoms of Jaundice

The signs of jaundice in adults include:

  • Abdominal pains and headaches.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Vomiting or Nausea.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Fever and Chills.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Swelling and yellowing of legs and abdomen.
  • Weight loss.
  • Pale stools.

In addition to the above, infants may also show the following symptoms:

  • Poor feeding.
  • Drowsiness and Weakness.
  • Irritability.

Types of Jaundice

In adults, jaundice is categorized based on where it may be localized. It could be:

  • Pre-hepatic (before the liver): It is caused by the excessive breakdown of red blood cells, which produces a large amount of bilirubin. The increase in bilirubin concentrations makes it difficult for the liver to synthesize it.
  • Intra-hepatic (in the liver): It occurs due to the damage, dysfunction, or scarring of the liver tissues, which renders the organ less effective in filtering out bilirubin.
  • Post-hepatic (after the liver): Also known as obstructive jaundice, this type occurs due to the blockage of the bile duct or digestive tract, which prevents the drainage of bilirubin.

Intra-hepatic jaundice is the most prevalent form of jaundice(2) with incidence touching 58.2%. Trailing the lead is post-hepatic jaundice at 22.8% and the rarest, pre-hepatic jaundice, is present at 13.7%.

[Read: 18 Home Remedies to Treat Jaundice]

Cure 1: Home Remedies For Jaundice

The following are some of the most effective natural remedies for jaundice.

1. Beverages

Wondering how to get rid of jaundice? Try the drinks given below!

Sugarcane Juice

Sugarcane Juice
Image:ShutterStock

Sugarcane juice is a refreshing summer beverage. Fortunately, it can also help with jaundice!

Why Does it Work?

Sugarcane juice contributes to the healthy functioning of your liver. As the phytochemicals in sugarcane restore your liver’s health, the bilirubin synthesis also resumes, thereby, keeping jaundice in check.

Ingredients
  • A glass of sugarcane juice.
Process
  1. Drink the sugarcane juice while it is fresh.
Frequency

Drink the juice twice a day until your condition improves.

[Read: Benefits of Sugar Cane Juice]

2. Goat’s Milk

Nearly 65% of the world’s population(3) drinks goat’s milk!

Did You Know!

Goat’s milk can also prevent anemia!

Why Does It Work?

Unlike cow’s milk, goat’s milk is easy to digest and can be consumed by adults and children. At the same time, its nutritional content is on par with cow’s milk. The antibodies present in goat’s milk can help treat jaundice.

Ingredients
  • A cup of goat’s milk (fresh).
Process
  1. Drink the goat’s milk.
Frequency

Consume a cup of goat’s milk daily.

3. Amla Juice

Amla Juice
Image:ShutterStock

Amla, or Indian gooseberry, helps in boosting the body’s immune system. As such, it comes as no surprise that features in a list on how to cure jaundice.

Why Does It Work?

Amla is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Thus, it can undo all the damage caused by free radicals and restore the body’s health. It is highly effective(4) in treating jaundice and its causes such as hepatitis.

Ingredients
  • Two to three amlas.
  • A cup of water.
  • Honey.
Process
  1. Finely chop the amla into fine slivers.
  2. Add the amla flesh and the water in a blender, and blend it into a smooth paste.
  3. Strain out the juice and add some more water to it.
  4. Add honey as a sweetener and drink it.
Frequency

Drink this juice for about two to three times a day.

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Cure 2: Essential Oils

Some essential oils can also in treating jaundice. Some of these are:

1. Rosemary Oil

The woody fragrance of rosemary oil is said to cure a host of ailments. It is known to combat mental strain, stress, and fatigue, and rejuvenate the body and mind.

Why Does It Work?

Rosemary oil possesses detoxifying and hepatoprotective(5) properties. The liver-protecting property stems from the fact that it triggers the body’s antioxidant defense mechanism to protect the liver.

Studies have proven that it can stimulate the production of bile and promote the healthy functioning of the liver.

Ingredients
  • Twelve drops of Rosemary oil.
  • 30mL of Coconut oil (or any other carrier oil).
Process
  1. Blend the rosemary oil and the carrier oil.
  2. Topically apply the blend to the abdomen and around the liver and massage the region gently.
  3. Let it sit on your skin until it is absorbed.
Frequency

Apply the oil daily until you observe an improvement in the condition.

2. Lemon Oil

Lemon Essential Oil
Image: Shutter stock

Lemon oil is extracted through the process of cold-pressing lemon peels. The refreshing citric aroma of lemon oil can fight exhaustion and even elevate mood in those suffering from depression.

Did You Know!

It is believed that lemon trees originated in India!

Why Does It Work?

The lemon essential oil has hepatoprotective qualities, and it can catalyze the wound healing process in response to liver injuries. Further, it is packed with antioxidants, which not only promote liver health but also treat jaundice.

Ingredients
  • Twelve drops of lemon essential oil.
  • 30mL of coconut oil (or any carrier oil).
Process
  1. Mix the lemon essential oil and carrier oil together.
  2. Topically apply the essential oil blend on your abdomen and the liver area.
  3. Leave it on your skin until it is completely absorbed.
Frequency

Follow this routine once daily.

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Cure 3: Foods

If you have jaundice, you may be on a restrictive diet. However, here are a few food items that you can eat, and they may, in fact, help you!

1. Garlic

Garlic is closely related to shallots, leeks, and onions and is a popular ingredient in a variety of cuisines.

Why Does It Work?

Garlic contains allicin, which possesses potent antioxidant properties. As a result, regular consumption of garlic can detoxify your liver, speed up the healing process, and help you recover from jaundice.

Ingredients
  • Three to four cloves of garlic.
Process
  1. Mince the garlic and add it to your regular food.
  2. Alternatively, you could directly chew on the garlic cloves.
Frequency

Consume garlic daily for it to take effect.

2. Ginger

Ginger
Image:ShutterStock

Ginger is not only a delicious spice, but it is also extremely healthy. It is rich in bioactive compounds and nutrients, which can benefit the body and mind.

Why Does It Work?

Ginger contains a high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Additionally, the hypolipidemic agents boost the liver’s functioning.

Ingredients
  • An inch of ginger.
  • Two cups of water.
Process
  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the ginger to it.
  2. Allow it to simmer for about five minutes or until the water is reduced to half.
  3. Strain the liquid and drink while it is warm.

NOTE: Alternatively, you can add ginger to your regular diet.

Frequency

Have a cup of this ginger tea daily until the symptoms subside.

3.Vitamin D Enriched Foods

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions as a hormone. The body can synthesise vitamin D on exposure to UV rays from the sunlight. Very few foods can supply vitamin D naturally, and as such, individuals often rely on supplements to meet their dietary needs.

Why Does It Work?

Studies have found a correlation of neonatal jaundice with Vitamin D deficiency. Even in adults, low levels of vitamin D are linked(6) with the decrease in the production of bile. As such, consuming foods that are rich in Vitamin D will promote liver health.

Ingredients
  • Fatty Fish (like Salmon, Sardines, Herrings, Tuna).
  • Oysters.
  • Shrimp.
  • Egg yolk.
  • Mushrooms.
Process
  1. Include Vitamin D-rich foods (as listed above) in your diet.
Frequency

The RDI (Reference Daily Intake) for Vitamin D is 600 IU per day from foods. Thus, ensure that you do not exceed this limit.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoe benefits
Image:ShutterStock

Consuming tomatoes and tomato products can significantly boost your health. Read on to know how it can work against jaundice.

Did You Know!

The first variety of tomatoes to be introduced in Europe were yellow. The Italian word for tomatoes is “Pomodoro,” which means Golden Apple.

Why Does It Work?

The lycopene present in tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant. It has a detoxifying effect(7) on the liver and, as such, helps cure jaundice, especially post-hepatic jaundice.

See Also
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Ingredients
  • Two to three tomatoes.
  • A cup of water.
Process
  1. Bring the tomatoes to a boil.
  2. Once they are blanched, peel off their skin.
  3. Blend the fleshy pulp with water to prepare a tomato juice. Drink it.
Frequency

Consume this drink daily on an empty stomach.

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Cure 4: Alternative Treatments

Here are a few home remedies to cure jaundice.

1. Sunlight

Phototherapy relates to exposure to light to reap its benefits. It is widely used to treat neonatal jaundice(8).

Why Does It Work?

Natural sunlight covers a broad spectrum, which also includes the bilirubin-absorbing wavelength. It is effective in isomerizing bilirubin and is an excellent alternative to phototherapy. Further, sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D in the body, which also promotes liver health.

Frequency

Do this daily every morning.

2. Spices and Condiments

In addition to foods, some spices and condiments are also very effective in curing jaundice. These include:

Holy Basil

Holy Basil
Image:ShutterStock

Holy basil is popularly known as ‘Tulsi’ in India. This highly revered plant offers an array of health benefits to the body.

Did You Know?

Since tulsi can repel mosquitoes, the colonial British would often plant tulsi around their houses.

Why Does It Work?

The leaves of the holy basil exude hepatoprotective enzymes, which could help treat jaundice. It is particularly useful in reversing the drug-induced damage caused to the liver.

Materials Required
  • Ten to twelve holy basil leaves.
Process
  1. Chew on the holy basil leaves.
Frequency

Follow this remedy thrice a day until the symptoms reduce.

[Read: Holy Basil Tea Benefits]

3. Oregano

Oregano is a staple herb in several European dishes. It offers many health benefits.

Why Does It Work?

Due to its powerful antioxidative effects, oregano helps in breaking down the excess bilirubin molecules. As a result, it reduces the burden and stress on the liver and cures jaundice.

Ingredients
  • A teaspoon of dried oregano.
  • A cup of water.
Process
  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the oregano to it.
  2. Take it off the heat and allow the herb to steep for about five minutes.
  3. Strain and drink the tea while it is warm.
Frequency

Drink this tea thrice a day.

Foods to Avoid

As the liver processes everything you eat or drink, it is crucial to monitor your diet. Here is a list of foods to avoid if you have jaundice:

  • Alcohol and alcoholic beverages.
  • Red meats (like beef and pork).
  • Refined sugar.
  • Salt.
  • Refined carbohydrates.
  • Packaged, smoked, and canned foods.
  • Saturated and trans fats.
  • Dairy products.

Prevention Tips

As they say, prevention is better than cure. Here are a few tips to prevent jaundice:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stay off alcoholic drinks or consume them in moderation.
  • Monitor your cholesterol.
  • Maintain proper hygiene.
  • Eat fresh food and drink clean water.

If you have jaundice, these natural remedies can help you recuperate. However, it is imperative that you see a medical professional and follow their prescription.

These natural remedies alone will not cure your jaundice, but they will significantly boost your recovery. Remember to watch your diet and drink an adequate amount of water too.


FAQs

Let’s address a few commonly asked questions in respect of jaundice.

1. Is Jaundice Contagious?

Jaundice, by itself, is not contagious. However, the underlying condition that causes jaundice could be infectious. Jaundice caused due to communicable diseases like Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, Weil’s disease, and Yellow Fever can be passed on from one person to another.

2. How Long Does Jaundice Last?

In infants, jaundice can last from 3 to 12 weeks. In adults, the recovery period depends on the type of jaundice. It lasts about 4 to 6 weeks and could go up to even a year!

3. Is Jaundice Fatal?

Jaundice is relatively common in babies and is not harmful. However, higher concentrations of bilirubin could damage the baby’s brain cells(9). Incidents of death arising out of jaundice have been reported in adults but are rather uncommon.

4. Is Jaundice Curable?

Yes! Jaundice is completely treatable.

5. Is Jaundice Hereditary?

Certain hereditary disorders, such as Gilbert syndrome and Dubin-Johnson syndrome, cause jaundice. As such, they could be passed down through genes.

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